The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Delaware

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

In 2018, Delaware experienced one winter storm, the damages of which led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • In March 2018, a nor’easter struck much of the Northeast, including Delaware, leading to a total of $2.3 billion in damages across the affected states.
  • Delaware’s sea level has risen 4 inches since 1956 and is now rising as much as 1 inch every 10 years. Delaware is preparing to spend more than $60 million on solutions for sea level rise, including wetland renourishment and flood prevention.
    • Lewis, Delaware, has seen 214 floods between 2005 and 2014, and an analysis attributed 67 percent of the floods to human-caused climate change.
    • Currently, 22,000 people are at risk of coastal flooding in Delaware, but that number is expected to grow to 31,000 by 2050.
    • Since 2000, tidal flooding has increased in parts of Delaware by 260 percent.

Temperature

  • Delaware currently averages 10 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will increase fivefold to 50 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 20,000 people in Delaware who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Delaware is tied for the fourth fastest-warming state in the country, according to annual temperature trends since 1970.
  • Delaware’s mosquito breeding season has increased from an average of 117 days between 1980 and 1989 to 142 days from 2006 to the present.
  • By 2100, summers in Wilmington, Delaware, will be 8 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2014 temperatures—comparable to present-day temperatures in San Antonio, Texas.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Delawareans more than $54 million
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because North Carolina’s economy relies on its tourism, agriculture, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions and are threatened by the extreme weather events and higher temperatures.
    • Tourism: In 2017, Delaware’s tourism supported more than 67,200 jobs in the state and contributed $3.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Delaware generates 29,000 direct jobs and $3.1 billion in consumer spending.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Delaware decreased by more than 71 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

Water quality

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.